Q376 : Sin, Sanctification, and Lordship Salvation

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Q376 : Sin, Sanctification, and Lordship Salvation


I am so confused about salvation, being a carnal Christian, and not receiving rewards for not showing any fruit.

I’ve been reading you all’s posts and reading things on gotquestions.org.

I am so lost! I feel like salvation is impossible with lordship salvation, but then they say how can you be born again and not show any works?

I feel like everything is a sin and I’m just tired of being confused.

A376 : by Tony Garland

The first thing I would say is this: if you are struggling with sin, the very fact that you are convicted by the need to change is a sign that the Holy Spirit is at work in your life.

The second thing I would say is: the process of sanctification takes time. It doesn't happen overnight. Therefore, we need to come to a place of trusting God to bring about the needed changes in our lives—and not strive to "change ourselves" in ways and at a rate which we cannot bring about through our own willpower.

The third thing I would say is: it is unlikely we will experience the peace of God (Isa. 26:3; Php. 4:7; Col. 3:15) if the focus of our Christian walk remains on our performance instead of our relationship with God.

Allowing the Holy Spirit to change our lives involves renewing our minds through God's Word (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:20). This process is intended to draw us to Christ — to seek out His will for our lives and, ultimately, results in a change in our desires to align more-and-more with God's will. Rather than focusing on our failures, we want to turn toward Jesus and seek after Him. When we do this, we will find our appetite for sin diminish and greater victory in the face of temptation.

Never forget that a devoted Christian, the Apostle Paul — after coming to faith — wrote the following:

14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that pin me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. (Romans 7:14-25)

Notice the transparency with which Paul discusses the problem of sin in the life of a believer. Yet, in the midst of the struggle, his “delight [is] in the law of God according to the inward man.” In response to his rhetorical question, “Who will deliver me from this body of death?” he recognizes the answer: “I thank God — through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Therefore, the answer to our dilemma is to turn towards God and trust the process of sanctification.

This is the balanced view of the reality of sin in the life of a believer. If Paul struggled — so will we. If, in the struggle, Paul kept his eyes on Jesus — so must we. If Paul did not question his own salvation when he fell in sin — so mustn't we.

We need to come to a place of consistency and constancy in our trust: both of God and the transforming power of His Word as we continue to seek Him.

Regarding Lordship Salvation, I can recommend the following resources from our website:

May God grant you peace and perspective as you come to a deeper understand of the difference between salvation and sanctification.

In Christ, Tony Garland

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